Meet pīngao | Golden sand sedge | Ficinia spiralis
Pīngao is one of four main native fibres used by Māori for weaving. The dried leaves are a brilliant yellow, often used for tukutuku panels in the wharenui, as well as for making kete (bags), pōtae (hats) and whāriki (mats).
What you need to know about pīngao:
Threat status: at risk — declining
Stunning pīngao stands would once have been found on almost every sandy beach in New Zealand. Today, it is only found as scattered remnant populations.
Likely to be spotted at:
Pīngao is usually found on the seaward faces of coastal foredunes. It is capable of growing closer to the shoreline than any other sand binder.
Most likely to be: Building giant sand castles.
Pīngao is a native sand-binding sedge and one of our key dune builders.
It stabilises sandy areas by trapping wind-blown sand between its leaves and rhizomes (long rope-like runners that grow across the sand).
It is also one of the preferred habitats for our threatened katipo spiders.
You might not know that: During the early 2000s, the Manawatū community worked alongside DoC to re-establish pīngao populations along our coast. Volunteers, community groups and schools grew pīngao from seed and planted it on the dunes of Turakina, Tangimoana and Foxton beaches.
If you spot pīngao, you should:
· Keep to tracks and roads whenever possible.
· Keep dogs and horses away.
Visit the Kiwi way and look after our place while enjoying nature this summer. We all have a responsibility to care for Aotearoa and our special native species.
To find out more about local species or conservation work, contact DOC Manawatu on (06) 350-9700 or visit www.doc.govt.nz